A consumer’s first interaction with a canned food product is provided by the label, whose main purpose is to attract the attention and provide information on its contents with the use of images, colours, and words. The language of food labelling has become increasingly complex and codified in parallel with the quantity and quality of the information it contains. Its purpose has also changed over time in that it began prevalently as a means to advertise a product’s contents, and later came to perform the additional function of safeguarding the health of consumers. This study aims to piece together the historical evolution of food labelling language, focusing on the Italian preserved foods industry and in particular the preserved tomatoes sector. It highlights the ever greater complementary role of the written description with respect to images; a role which has proved crucial, especially since the years following the Second World War when chemical additives and colourants began to be more widely used. In Italy, a decisive contribution to the evolution of written language was provided by European Community regulations on food labelling which, from the 1970s, initiated a gradual convergence of different member state laws, resulting in a common European labelling language.

D'Errico, R.M.M. (2021). Hidden from view. The art of suggestion on canned food labels in the 20th century. In M.B. Sylvie Vabre (a cura di), Food History: A Feast of the Senses in Europe, 1750 to the Present, (pp. 104-115). New York : Routledge.

Hidden from view. The art of suggestion on canned food labels in the 20th century

Rita d'errico
2021-01-01

Abstract

A consumer’s first interaction with a canned food product is provided by the label, whose main purpose is to attract the attention and provide information on its contents with the use of images, colours, and words. The language of food labelling has become increasingly complex and codified in parallel with the quantity and quality of the information it contains. Its purpose has also changed over time in that it began prevalently as a means to advertise a product’s contents, and later came to perform the additional function of safeguarding the health of consumers. This study aims to piece together the historical evolution of food labelling language, focusing on the Italian preserved foods industry and in particular the preserved tomatoes sector. It highlights the ever greater complementary role of the written description with respect to images; a role which has proved crucial, especially since the years following the Second World War when chemical additives and colourants began to be more widely used. In Italy, a decisive contribution to the evolution of written language was provided by European Community regulations on food labelling which, from the 1970s, initiated a gradual convergence of different member state laws, resulting in a common European labelling language.
978-0-367-51558-4
D'Errico, R.M.M. (2021). Hidden from view. The art of suggestion on canned food labels in the 20th century. In M.B. Sylvie Vabre (a cura di), Food History: A Feast of the Senses in Europe, 1750 to the Present, (pp. 104-115). New York : Routledge.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/388001
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